A recent blog post questions whether services oriented architecture
(SOA) was driving substantive transformation inside of enterprise IT.
My conclusion is that something is not quite right in SOA-ville. The
uptake of general-purpose service enablement is by no means a hockey
stick trend line. The adoption patterns some five years into the SOA
evolutionary path do not show a slam dunk demand effect. The role,
impact and importance of SOA is, in fact, ambiguous -- still. Many
see it as merely an offshoot of EAI, rather than a full-blown paradigm
shift. Meanwhile, some other trends that do demonstrate more of a
hockey stick adoption pattern -- social media, Ruby/Phython, RESTful
interactions, and RIAs -- are worth a fresh look in the context of SOA.
The new kids on the innovation block are experimenting at break-neck
speed with social media, social networking, Ruby on Rails, SaaS, Python,
REST and the vital mix of rich Internet application (RIA) approaches.
Something is going on here that shows the compelling attraction of
better collaboration and sharing methods, of self-defining social and
work teams, of faster and easier applications development, of not
moving old systems to the Web but just moving to the Web directly, and
the recognition that off-the-wire applications with fine UIs are the
future... I'm wondering now whether the window for holistic SOA
deployment and value, as it has been classically defined, is being
eclipsed. Is it possible that Web interfaces and data disintermediation
for legacy applications will be enough? Is it possible that exposing
the old applications, and reducing costs of IT support via consolidation
and modernization is enough? In short, is the path of least resistance
to business transformation one that necessarily requires a fording of
the SOA stream? Or is there a shorter, dry path that goes directly to
Web oriented architecture? Is SOA therefore the impediment or empowerment
to transformation on the right scale and at Internet time?